What is Unsettling Pieces?
Unsettling Pieces is a digital platform that aims to make political voices louder. The platform’s motivation is to contribute to the ongoing political discussions by creating a transnational solidarity network. It hosts artworks (graphic designs, photographs, poems, personal thus political essays) and academic or semi-academic articles. The most important pillar of the platform is that it drives away from the neoliberal world order and highlights the importance of difference and relationality by excluding identity politics.
In late February, the morning Russia invaded Ukraine, we became paralyzed and could not focus on the online course we were attending. While trying to listen to the discussions on postcolonial topics, on the side, we were chatting on WhatsApp and tried to calm each other down.
We have been in this state before. In fact, we have been in this state throughout our lives. We were born and raised in Western Turkey, where the signs of war in Eastern regions are not physically visible. We mourn, attend demonstrations, become part of political parties, and do as much as possible to stand in solidarity with the Kurdish people. We lived our everyday lives back in Turkey, while a part of us kept bleeding and anxiety became a part of our breathing.
The morning Ukraine was invaded was a crucial day we had in the Netherlands. We shared the anger; we shared the anxiety; we also shared the hope. Because anger, anxiety, and hope are all included in resistance. At least in the way we embody it. During the class discussions, we interrupted the order of the class and brought up the topic of war. It must also be due to the online class circumstances; people hesitated to talk about the topic. The reason might have multiple aspects, but we will never forget someone saying, “Let’s not put political pressure on individuals.” And then, within a day or two, our paper “White Cushion” was born.
We first submitted the paper to the UU’s journal, dub.uu.nl, and immediately received a rejection. They said the piece was too theoretical; people would not understand what we were talking about. It is now up to the readers of this platform to decide whether whiteness is a theoretical or a practical notion.
This platform is created to satisfy the need to be heard and seen. We visualize escaping the traps of identity politics and creating a cartography of different versions of selves to point out that we all are unique individuals who create a whole. We are in this world together, and the way we perceive life and our experiences are different, but these differences do not create hierarchy; instead, they stand side by side. The abstract chain between you and me has emerged from our differences; the differences between us hold us together. Despite the insistence of neoliberalism, we do not see anyone higher or lower than the other; we see all living and unliving entities on a flat surface, reaching infinity together.
We would like to thank some beautiful souls who have encouraged and supported us to establish this platform and blow wind to our fire. Over the course of years, we have learned to use our fire to produce something, and we never forget the words of Clarissa P. Estes, “cook food with your fire.” So here comes our gratitude for people who have encouraged us to keep our fire on, so we can start cooking food out of anger, distress, pain, and anxiety.
Eva Hayward, was the one who first responded to our piece, offered her help to improve our text, and transparently recognized the fire within us.
With her calm words, Kathrin Thiele rubbed our backs, reminded us to breathe, and slowed us down.
Rosemarie Buikema, opened and showed us a path and encouraged us to take baby steps like she always does with young(er) feminists.
Rick Dolphijn shared his affirmative response, reminded us of our political situatedness and where we came from, and offered ways to reach more people to demonstrate solidarity. He opened our eyes with a gentle touch.
Above all, domi Olivieri, shared her patience and enthusiasm, brainstormed with us multiple times, and greeted our passion with her supportive smile. She has been there with us all along.
Looking forward to meeting new voices.
Defne & Jülide